Karen Gourlay is an award winning composer whose works have been performed internationally. She has had a diverse musical career combining teaching, composing and performance. Born in 1962, she initially studied jazz at Leeds College of music, followed by a BA, and MMus at the University of Leeds where she studied with Sam Hayden, Martin Watkins, and most influentially, Philip Wilby.
Inspired by a wide range of sources, her compositions often incorporate references to jazz and other popular music idioms; particularly in the use of rhythm and quasi improvisatory passages. She has a particular interest in writing for rare or unusual instruments and was commissioned by Youth Music to write an ensemble scheme for the so called 'endangered species' group of instruments. As a flute player, she particularly enjoys writing for low flutes
Karen is a former winner of the Yorkshire Composer's Competition and was a finalist in the rarescale/RCM composition competition. Performances have included Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the Sydney Festival, the Royal College of Music, and San Francisco, Chicago and Las Vegas in the USA. Her work has been performed by performers such as Carla Rees, David Black, Marion Garver Fredrickson, Linda Chatterton, Lisa Nelson, Peter Sheridan, and Richard Craig.
She is a senior lecturer at Leeds College of Music and flute teacher for Yorkshire Young Musicians.
Beyond Them Constellations Falling
The Only Lonely One?